Monday, August 9, 2010

The Blueprint

David Ortiz would call this title his original thought.

Say what you want about Joe Girardi. You cannot deny that when he decides to put an A-team in the lineup, he gives good game plans. Not that I think a manager puts together game plans very often with 162 games to play every year, but I do think Girardi does that for his offenses more often than not.

And the guy knows how to beat the Red Sox' pitchers. There are blueprints to beat every single Red Sox starting pitcher but one. Luckily that was the one who pitched today. But let's go one-by-one here:

Wakefield: If it's high, let it fly. If it's low, let it go. This is also not an original thought.

Beckett: Take a look at the calendar and remind yourself it's not October 2003. Work the count. He's bound to do the following: 1) miss a corner, lose his s***, start jawing at the umpire, and walk a bunch of guys. 2) Fall behind in the count, float an unimpressive fastball, and leave himself prone to giving up bombs. 3) A combination of the two. The Yankees have employed this strategy to an exact science. For this, Girardi might deserve a Manager of the Year vote.

Buchholz: Similar to Beckett. Wait for a bad inning where he walks one or misses a call. If the inning doesn't happen, you're out of luck. But the inning usually happens. Work the count, walk, or wait for a hanging curveball. Once you pop, the fun don't stop.

Lackey: Nickel and dime him. Please refer to yesterday's post. He's not going to strike you out.

Matsuzaka: Unless you are hitting under .255 as a team, channel your inner JD Drew. Don't pick the bat off of your shoulder. You cannot live on the corners. Wait for him to walk the bases loaded, and then have fun with Scott Atchison time. Seriously though, if nine JDs were to put on pinstripes, what would Matsuzaka's line be? Would he walk as many as Beckett did in August 2006? Would he walk twelve? These are serious questions.

But seriously, what's the blueprint for Jon Lester? If he doesn't have it, sure, he can get whacked around. But if he has it, what do you do? It's not 2006 anymore where he's getting behind in the count all the time. I'd say the best way to combat Jon Lester at this juncture of the season is to do exactly what the Yankees did today. Try to knock him out of the game as soon as possible, maximizing innings from Delcarmen and Papelbon, whose number the Yankees still have.

The Yankees tried to do this today, and narrowly failed. Therefore, the Red Sox won. The Yankees are a better team who executes better and, frankly, manages better. The B-team stuff is perplexing. The bullpen management is also at time perplexing. But the rest of the American League have not figured out this blueprint. The Yankees have.

Also, 46 is a one-tool player.


TimC said...

Boston- Top of the 1st
Matsuzaka pitching for Boston

J Drew WALKED, J Drew to second
J Drew grounded into fielder's choice to second, J Drew to third
J Drew WALKED, J Drew to second. J Drew injured on the play, replaced by SP J Drew
J Drew struck out looking
J Drew grounded into fielder's choice to second

0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors

the gm at work said...

Well played, Tim C. You forgot the part about how after the starting pitcher J. Drew comes in to run, J. Drew the right fielder asks out of the game. After being refused the vacation by the manager, J. Drew the right fielder hits a bomb off of Delcarmen.

TimC said...

Yes, that would have been a nice addition. I also forgot to add the time of the inning but let's just say that Bill Simmons would have written another column about it.

Anonymous said...


That was a big win yesterday and it showed us a lot about Jon Lester. However, what can't get lost in all of this is that Beckett and Lackey absolutely SUCKED this weekend. If either one of them showed up the Sox would have really been able to gain some ground on the entire division. But neither did. And what's more disconcerting is the fact that we'll probably be saying that for the next four years.

--the Gunn

PF said...

Great post here dv, and good comments from the crew per usual. I think the basic premise of your post is spot on. While girardi isn't perfect (and what manager is?) he does most things better than most managers. One is what you're discussing here, having a gameplan and executing it. Of course, it helps that he has a lot of A. Superstar B professional or C. Both of the above in his lineup. But someone has to put the gameplan in place and, importantly, make sure the team sticks to it even if it doesn't net immediate results. Even with lester yesterday, they came within inches and a dominant daniel bard (wowza) performance from getting to him (relatively of course, enough to win the game is probably a better term than getting to him when you are dealing with a top 10 pitcher in baseball like jon lester with that kind of elite talent, but you know what I mean) after being blanked for most of the day. With lackey and beckett they executed to a T.

the gm at work said...


Agreed. A crucial part about this whole thing is something that was discussed late yesterday afternoon in the comments section. If we are saying this for the next four years, and have several more years with basically the same starters they already have, how is the team going to give any minor league prospects a chance?

Answer: Trade, eat contracts, and occasionally have a $175 million payroll for a third-place team.

Boy wonder.

the gm at work said...


Is that you? I thought you were away from the Internet for two weeks! Where are you anyway? Are your ribs okay?

TimC said...

PF will return from his ribs to make three comments, then disappear again.

Gunn and DV,

The biggest problem I have with Theo is that he gets attached to certain kinds of mistakes. Seeing as how he perfected the "Hand Out a Large, Multi-Year Deal to an Overvalued Free Agent to Block Potential Future Stars" mistake over the years at the shortstop position, it should comes as no surprise that he has once again done so with the starting rotation. Even in a "rebuilding" year, Theo manages to screw up the future of another area of the team.

the gm at work said...

Tim C,

As long as Pat's notes come from pre-written notecards, that's fine with me.

And as far as those mistakes, don't get it twisted. It's not just the shortstop position. Remember a little problem we had in center field a few years ago? By the time Johnny F. Damon took the podium fifteen minutes after the Chicago sweep and started talking contract and respect, there was already a center fielder - a first-round draft pick - who was tearing up the minor leagues. Looked like someone who within two years might be able to hit .353 for a month and a half, steal a base for a free taco, and then eventually hit .300 for a season, break a few ribs, and vacation in Arizona for a summer. You know, a formidable major leaguer.

So what did they do? Did they acquire Jeremy Reed for two years to keep the seat warm? Hell, did they acquire Coco Crisp for two years to keep the seat warm? No! They signed Coco Crisp AND THEN IMMEDIATELY EXTENDED HIM! All for a guy whose career OBP was under league average and had never had more than like 12 home runs in a season. But he had a good 2005.

As many of you know, I crushed #10 - hard - for his first year in Boston. Yes, things obviously changed quite a bit for reasons that will not be discussed until the book comes out. But the Coco Crisp extension before the 2006 season was among the most asinine things Theo Epstein has ever done. The guy ended up paying Coco to play in KC last year. Good GM'ing.

And it's not uncharacteristic at all.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'll create a fake PF account like PF at Work, or PF at a Communist Convention in order to carry on the spirit of PF in his absence.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but PF would NOT create a fake account, which I think contradicts the idea of keeping him around in spirit. You should just leave anonymous comments without paragraphs and post them three straight times.